To all my new readers and new Dartmouth students, welcome to the first blog of Alex D. Hurt II. This blog will be an instrument for some interesting thoughts, reactions to current events, and occasionally just for some of my signature dark, irreverent humor about nothing important. Before I move any further I most gave a fair warning. WARNING: This blog will contain strong language and opinions and is only for the open minded. The vast majority of people will read something like that and say “pssh sure whatever I’m in college now. I’m a big boy and I can handle anything.” One of the biggest mistakes I made when I entered college is that when people said this, I actually believed them. Dartmouth students tend to fall into one of two categories: those who have shaped an identity out of what they think, and those you can actually have a nice conversation with. What the heck does that mean? I’m so glad you asked.
Do not say “I am a Conservative,” instead say “I think conservatively.” This may seem like a small difference, but its implications are huge. In my time here there have been several on and off campus events that have sparked controversy or healthy debate. However I believe if I smoked five packs a day, ate nothing but weeks-old McDonald’s, and thought the Star Wars prequel trilogy wasn’t that bad, I would be healthier than this debate has been. Let me lead with an example; I am against gay marriage. Now already most of you are divided into two categories. There are those of you who are going to take that statement and immediately begin to make all kinds of assumptions about me, without ever having met me before. (P.S. My real opinions on gay marriage are not reflected here as this is only an example) You may feel discouraged from ever reading this blog again because I am a “bigot” or which ever synonym fits your fancy. You fall into category #2, but I will address you first.
This reaction is common and is a result of someone of making a classic mistake of equating opinions and identity. I could be a charming Daniel Craig-esque dude and you would never know because you are unable to get over my opinions on a topic you care about. Some feel by me disagreeing I have somehow attacked them personally. You are not your opinions, and neither am I. Your choices and actions make you who you are, not what you think. If someone is against gay marriage, but treats all people with respect and dignity, I see nothing wrong with them voicing their opinions loudly and strongly. Do not equate identity and opinions. I would estimate over 80% of Dartmouth makes this mistake, but only 20% can identify this as a problem. Get off the #2 bus, by definition of it being #2 you shouldn’t want to be a part of it.
Category #1 are those who see the statement “I am against gay marriage,” have a different opinion, and there immediate words are “And why is that?” These are the kind of people you want to be around, and the type of person you should be. These people understand that you being against their beliefs does not mean you are against them personally. In fact they may have curiosity into the opinions of someone on the other side of the fence. They understand the difference between opinion and identity, and as such you can talk to them about anything.
MORAL OF THE STORY: Understand what makes identity, and apply it to every aspect of your life. Your grades don’t make your identity, how many friends you have doesn’t make your identity, whether you know that House of Cards is in fact better than Scandal doesn’t make your identity, how many times you check Facebook every 15 minutes even though you know nothing has changed doesn’t make your identity, and neither does your opinions. It would be a waste of the thousands of dollars you are spending to leave the Ivy League thinking the same way about the same way as you came. Look forward to change and Welcome to Dartmouth.